The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to mend fences with its members aggrieved by the electioneering and aftermath of the 2019 general election.
As part of the reconciliation moves, the party, which rose from a strategic meeting in Dubai on Saturday, resolved to meet with Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who is considered as one of the key malcontents in PDP.
Contrary to expectations, Wike last week, publicly congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari over the judgment of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal, which dismissed the complaint by PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the party that his declaration as winner of the last presidential election should be nullified.
The governor, in the wake of criticism against his congratulatory message to the president, had warned the PDP not to toy with the state chapter of the party as he could give them a good fight if the party challenged him.
THISDAY also learnt that at the Dubai meeting, Atiku backed the party’s decision to head to the Supreme Court to appeal the tribunal judgment upholding Buhari’s election.
It was gathered that the leading opposition party was worried by the rising discontent among its members as a result of the aftermath of the 2019 elections and would like to take steps to prevent it from festering in a bid to stave off an imminent crisis in PDP.
THISDAY gathered that the party, at a recent strategy meeting between its Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Atiku in Dubai focused on post-election political realignment and stocktaking.
To kick-start the reconciliation process, THISDAY gathered that the party’s BoT would meet today to discuss the report of the committee that investigated allegations of disobedience to the party’s directive and the crisis that resulted in the emergence of Hon. Ndudi Elumelu and others as the minority leaders of the House of Representatives, against the wish of the party.
The Chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jubrin, who confirmed this development to THISDAY, said 10 members of the party’s BoT just came back from Dubai, where they held meeting with Atiku on the state of the party and the next line of action.
He added that the PDP’s BoT would later seek audience with Wike to discuss his grievances and other issues affecting the welfare of the party.
“Yes, we are back to Nigeria after a two-day visit to Dubai where we held crucial meeting with our presidential candidate in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar. We left on Saturday and came back Monday. The meeting was fruitful,” Jubrin said.
On the agenda of the meeting with Atiku, the BoT chairman said: “Everything borders on the continued unity of PDP as a party and Atiku expressed his willingness to be a member of the party to the end of his political career
“First of all, he told us that he is 100 per cent in support of challenging the outcome of the judgment of the presidential election petitions tribunal to the Supreme Court. He said that he has to put it on record since he has not spoken after the judgment last Wednesday. He said that he was not going to the Supreme Court out of selfish ambition but for the sake of protecting the future generations and prosperity of this country. Atiku said that there would be no going back until the last outcome of the petition to the Supreme Court.”
According to him, the former vice president appealed for calm and sued for a continued unity in the party, saying: “All PDP members should always have at the back of their minds the unity of the party as there cannot be any progress where there is disunity. All members should come together and pursue unity. He emphasised the need for peace and unity and that we should avoid division within our ranks.
“He (Atiku) also reminded us that we should bear in mind that as the BoT that we are the conscience of the party, advising that nothing more is required of us than to ensure peace, unity and progress of PDP as a political party. He also urged us to ensure cohesion and that we should not take side on any issue of the party that comes to our attention
” Above all, he charged us to ensure that there is reasonable peace and unity between us the BoT and the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party as well as other organs of the party.”
The BoT chairman said the delegation intimated him of the plans of the BoT to visit the zones of the federation to reconcile all aggrieved members, adding that Atiku welcomed the idea as there was nothing wrong with striving towards peace at all times.
He said the BoT would meet today to discuss the report of the former president of the Senate, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, who investigated the alleged disobedience to party directives and how Elumelu and his group emerged as the minority leaders of the House of Representatives.
The BOT chairman gave the assurance that the report would be handled transparently to the satisfaction of all members without injuring the unity of the party.
He said: “The BoT will seek the opinions of members to know whether it would be fair in the interest of peace, justice and unity of the party if the other reports like the disciplinary committee headed by Chief Tom Ikimi and the other report by Senator Adolphus Wabara could be handled together or handled separately. We will seek to know whether there would be the need to harmonise the Ayu Committee’s report with others and therefore discuss all the report holistically with the others since they are similar in nature. If the BoT agrees, then we shall be asking the NWC for a merger of these reports for a holistical approach.”
He added that the BoT would proceed on reconciliatory visits to some states and troubled regions to ensure the unity and peace of the PDP.
He said part of this reconciliatory visits would take the BoT to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, where they would meet and discuss with the governor over his perceived grievances.
He said: “BoT will resolve whatever is the problem even if it means visiting Governor Wike. Elders will not stay at home and watch the female goat give birth in bond. We shall not do that or ignore our responsibility as members of the BoT.
“Wike is a good member of the PDP and he has contributed much to the growth and development of our dear party. So, we shall see to the peaceful resolution of whatever is the problem.”
Wike had also moved against the interest of the party, when he accused the committee set up by the BoT to investigate Elumelu and others as the most corrupt committee in the history of the party.
The governor had also moved against the position of his party and congratulated Buhari for his victory at the election petition tribunal, saying that it was better to congratulate Buhari publicly than to secretly visit the president at night.
He said: “I am sure all of you are surprised that I congratulated Buhari. Is it not good for me to congratulate him than to go to his house in the night?
“So many PDP governors go to see him (Buhari) in his house in the night. I have never gone and I will not go.”